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Man charged in 38-year-old Cass County homicide to appear in court

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A man accused of killing his cousin appeared in court Monday and claims he didn't do it.

Lawyers for Raymond Richmond say he found Robert Stasiak's body after Stasiak killed himself back in 1977.

A lot of arguments were made on whether Richmond should be allowed free on bond. The judge denied that request.

Richmond will be held in the Cass County Jail until his trial.

In court, new details came to light about what happened on a November night nearly four decades ago.

Suicide or murder; two very different accounts of what happened to Robert Stasiak back in 1977.

Stasiak was a Navy veteran. WSBT22 obtained probable cause documents show that Stasiak died from a gunshot wound to his chest, but there was no suicide note and no obvious way he could have pulled the trigger.

His death initially ruled a suicide.

"The police investigated this in 1977," said Paul Jancha, Richmond's attorney. "They made the determination that no charges should be brought. That would not have been a simple or easy investigation or evaluation or determination," Jancha added.

In court, prosecutors argued Richmond admitted five times over the past 30 years that he did kill his cousin at Staskiak's parent's home in Edwardsburg.

"He has acknowledged as recent as 2016 that those five statements were statements that he in fact made," said Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz.

Probable cause documents detailing what led police to arrest and charge the 56-year-old in connection with the shooting death of his cousin, Robert Stasiak, in Edwardsburg.

Fitz says Stasiak's family has maintained belief that the 25-year-old didn't kill himself.

He says Richmond was there the night Stasiak was shot and then came back the next day.

"He shot him, he left him there to die," Fitz said. "Because the defendant was not motivated by mercy, but by self interest in this case."

Fitz says that self interest centered around drugs. But Richmond's lawyer maintains his client found Stasiak after he was dead.

"I believe, based on what he has told me, that he was not any way involved with the death of him, Jancha said. "However, I will acknowledge that he did find him after he had shot himself and that's what we intend to prove at trial."

Richmond was arrested in South Bend last week and was returned to Cass County on Sunday to face charges.

Richmond has been charged with open murder and felony possession of a weapon.

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